Thursday, February 17th, 2011 Posted by Jim Thacker

Autodesk to acquire Scaleform Corporation

Scaleform’s GFx toolset in action: a GFx-powered 3D inventory inside Unreal Tournament 3.

Autodesk has announced its intention to acquire games UI tools and middleware developer Scaleform.

The deal, which is still subject to the usual legal ratification, comes with a pretty hefty $36 million price tag: $1 million more than the fee Autodesk paid Avid for Softimage, back in 2008.

If the acquisition goes through in April as planned, it will mark the latest in a series of Autodesk purchases in the middleware market. The company has previously acquired AI developer Kynogon and rendering specialist Illuminate Labs.

Autodesk announced today it intends to acquire Scaleform Corporation, a privately held user interface (UI) tools and middleware company, for approximately $36 million in cash. Scaleform’s leading technology has been licensed in the development of at least 800 games across major hardware platforms: PCs, Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony Playstation 3 (PS3), Sony Playstation Portable (PSP), and Nintendo Wii. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and expected to close in Autodesk’s first quarter of fiscal 2012 (which ends on April 30, 2011).

Scaleform’s flagship product, Scaleform GFx, allows development teams to more quickly and easily author game UIs and interactive 3D experiences using popular design tools: Adobe Flash and Adobe Creative Suite software. Scaleform GFx helps developers take advantage of the 3D hardware acceleration capabilities of modern systems to create cinematic quality menus, in-game heads up displays (HUDs), animated textures, mini-games, and even mobile games and applications.

“The Scaleform acquisition will further Autodesk’s ability to provide customers with more complete workflows to more rapidly develop immersive 3D and casual game experiences,” said Marc Stevens, Vice President, Games, Autodesk Media & Entertainment. “The Scaleform team will bring a wealth of expertise in creating highly optimized runtime solutions for PCs, consoles and mobile devices. We expect the integration of Scaleform to allow us to innovate faster and help further improve the game creation process for online, console, and mobile development.”

“Our combined technologies will not only provide game developers with an improved authoring environment and runtime solution, but will also apply to the broader interactive entertainment industry ranging from film to mobile to the web” said Brendan Iribe, President and Chief Executive Officer of Scaleform. “We will finally realize our long standing vision of integrating 2D and 3D authoring technology while continuing our commitment to deliver leading-edge real-time graphics solutions to our customers.”

As part of the acquisition, Brendan Iribe, along with Scaleform’s Chief Technology Officer, Michael Antonov, and Chief Operating Officer, Marc Bennett, will join the leadership team in Autodesk Media & Entertainment. Scaleform offices will remain in Greenbelt, Maryland.